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Learning From COVID-19, UN Forum To Highlight Critical Role Of Science, Technology And Innovation In Global Challenges


New York, 4 May —To build on the
bold innovations in science, technology and innovations that
produced life-saving solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic,
the UN will bring together experts to highlight measures
that can broaden the development and deployment of urgent
solutions at a high-profile Forum on Tuesday.

The
heightened global demand for new, life-saving measures will
be a central focus for the UN’s sixth annual
Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and
Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)–
convened by the President of the UN Economic and Social
Council–that will bring together governments, civil
society, the private sector, the scientific community, UN
entities, youth and other stakeholders to identify
technology needs and gaps, and help facilitate development,
transfer and dissemination of relevant technologies that are
needed to achieve the SDGs.

The rapid production of
vaccines, the use of artificial intelligence to monitor
viral outbreaks, the expansion of e-commerce and
telemedicine have demonstrated that science, technology and
innovation are critical to building resilient
societies.

“The STI Forum is unique precisely
because it brings together such a diversity of stakeholders.
Only here, so many regulators, policymakers and
businesspeople rub shoulders with innovators, scholars and
activists. All these players have the power to bring
scientific innovation up to scale and advance sustainable
development,” said Mohammad Koba, Chargé d’Affaires of
the Indonesian Mission to the UN and Co-chair of the
Forum.

This year’s Forum, co-chaired by Latvia and
Indonesia, will address the theme of “Science, technology
and innovation for a sustainable and resilient COVID-19
recovery, and effective pathways of inclusive action towards
the SDGs”, particularly relevant as countries continue to
combat the health, economic and social impacts of the
pandemic amid the mounting pressures of climate
change.

“The pandemic has clearly demonstrated that
people need to be equipped with skills that help them
navigate today’s complex information environment and make
well-informed decisions,” said Andrejs Pildegovičs,
Permanent Representative of Latvia to the UN and Co-chair of
the Forum.

“Hopefully we have also learned that we
must do better at not only listening, but also acting on
science to avoid crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic in the
first place. Science informs us of imminent threats and ways
to prepare for them. Our policies and actions must heed
it.”

25
winners of the annual Call for Innovations competition

organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social
Affairs (UN DESA) and the Global Innovation Exchange (GIE),
will be announced on Tuesday, selected from among hundreds
of global entrepreneurs who are advancing sustainable
development in their local communities around the
world.

From building resilient food systems to
improving maternal, child and new-born health, the
innovations demonstrate the importance of leveraging
science, technology and innovation for driving social
progress, protecting the environment and promoting economic
development. For example, Fightback Online System in Nepal
focuses on gender-based violence while Swarmob in Chile
helps schools with the development of online projects around
the SDGs.

The winning solutions help address the
impacts of COVID-19 disruptions and will remain relevant
beyond the pandemic as they promise to help accelerate
progress towards one or more of the SDGs.

Keynote
speakers at the Forum will emphasize the critical role of
partnerships and the need to include the perspectives of all
stakeholders when developing solutions to global problems.
Julie Makani, Professor and Principal Investigator for the
Sickle Cell Disease programme at the Muhimbili University of
Health and Allied Sciences in Tanzania, is set to discuss
the critical importance of developing science, technology
and innovation capacity to build resilient public health
systems.

Rajiv Shah, President of the Rockefeller
Foundation will highlight current threats to human
well-being and the role of science, technology and
innovation in addressing global crises.

The summary
of the Forum will support this year’s High-Level
Political Forum
and its review of progress towards the
SDGs.

Over the course of two days, the Forum will
discuss lessons from the experience with COVID-19 pandemic,
deploying rapid technological change to achieve the SDGs,
closing technological divides, and initiating new, open and
collaborative science and innovation
models. 

About the STI
Forum:

The Science, Technology and Innovation
Forum is co-chaired in 2021 by H.E. Mr. Andrejs
Pildegovičs, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of
Latvia to the UN, and H.E. Ambassador Mohammad Koba, Chargé
d’Affaires of the Indonesian Mission to the UN. The first
annual STI Forum took place in 2016, following the launch of
the Technology
Facilitation Mechanism
(TFM), through the 2030 Agenda
for Sustainable Development. Additional components of the
TFM include the UN
Interagency Task Team
on Science Technology and
Innovation for the SDGs, the 10-Member
Group
, and 2030
Connect
, an online platform on STI initiatives,
mechanisms, and
programmes.

Links:

· More
information about the STI Forum, including the programme,
can be found here: https://sdgs.un.org/tfm/STIForum2021
·
A complete list of selected entrepreneurs from the 2020 and
2021 Call for Innovations can be found here: https://stiforum4sdgs.globalinnovationexchange.org/2020-and-2021-winners

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